DUI Victim's Family Worried Cop May Get Off Easy

Eddie Stapinski, an off-duty officer, was charged in a fatal Stevenson crash

By Steve Bryant and Kim Vatis
|  Tuesday, Dec 22, 2009  |  Updated 7:10 PM CDT
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Wong Family Rips Up Assistance Pamphlet

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Wong Family Rips Up Assistance Pamphlet

The family of a man killed when an allegedly drunk off-duty police officer swerved into his lane and struck his vehicle is worried the cop may get off easy, they said in court today, before leaving in frustration.
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The family of a man killed when an allegedly drunk off-duty police officer swerved into his lane and struck his vehicle is worried the cop may get off easy, they said in court today, before leaving in frustration.

The family of 29-year-old victim Man "Mike" Wong left the court room in a huff, ripping up a pamphlet on assisting victims on their way out.

"I think maybe he might," said Tiffany Wong, cousin of 29-year-old victim Man "Mike" Wong, when asked whether Eddie Stapinski, a 34-year-old with seven years of service, would get preferential treatment because of his uniform.

"He died innocent," said Wong. He meant so much ... We are here because we want [Stapinski] to have proper punishment.

Stapinski and the family were in court for Stapinski's bond hearing, where bond was set at $750,000.

Stapinski, who had no visible cuts or bruises, audibly sighed after hearing the the bond amount.

After hearing the bond amount, Stapinski's lawyers argued that $750,000 was unreasonable given his position.  Judge Maureen Feerick argued that Stapinski was an officer and should have known better.

According to testimony, Stapinski told the arresting officers that he was at a West Loop bar from 6 to 9 p.m. and drank several beers. Traffic was slow, he said, and he was going 80 m.p.h.

Witnesses say they saw Stapinski weaving as he passed cars. He hit the concrete median, went airborne into oncoming traffic, and hit Wong's vehicle.

Police said Stapinski had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and alcohol on his breath.

He refused a BAC test at the scene, but when tested during treatment his blood alcohol level was almost three times the legal amount.

Stapinski was ordered to turn in his service weapon and surrender his passport.

In a statement, Lockport police said they've begun an investigation and have called Officer Stapinski's actions "inexcusable."

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